Stirman earns Burroughs Wellcome award

The $500,000 grant will allow Jeffrey Stirman, PhD, a postdoc biomedical engineer at UNC, to develop a new kind of microscope and study the brain like never before.

Stirman earns Burroughs Wellcome award click to enlarge Jeffrey Stirman, PhD (Photo by Rob Holliday, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Jeffrey Stirman, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Spencer Smith, PhD, received a $500,000 grant as part of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Career Awards at the Scientific Interface (CASI) program. This award recognizes Stirman’s important technical contributions to biomedical science and will support his early career. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent foundation that supports research, education, and scientific activities related to the biomedical sciences.

Stirman, whose work with Smith’s lab was featured here, received his early training in physics, and he published several first-authors papers in the field. He later earned a PhD in bioengineering, during which he created sophisticated optical devices for patterned optogenetic stimulation of freely moving animals. Most recently, he developed new imaging technology to measure neural activity in different parts of the brain simultaneously, with single neuron resolution.

Stirman and Smith’s lab are using the system to better understand the function of neural circuitry and what might be disrupted in complex neurological diseases, including autism. This award will help Stirman continue his work in is Smith’s lab, which is part of the department of cell biology and physiology in the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC Neuroscience Center, and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities.

Check out the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award winners for more information

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